Tuberculosis patients protest for the lack of medicines in Venezuela

Tuberculosis patients and their relatives blocked San Martin Avenue protesting for poor hospital conditions and the lack of treatment for them.

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Tuberculosis patients demand a daily supply of medicines to curb the symptoms of this disease, and are at risk from the Coronavirus. Photo by Jesus Barreto.

Additional reporting by Jesus Barreto.

A group of tuberculosis patients blocked the San Martin Avenue in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, to demand the resumption of the delivery of medicines.

The demonstrators assured that since February, before the arrival of the Coronavirus pandemic to the country, failures in delivery of TB treatments began, which must be taken daily to contain the advance of the respiratory disease.

The affected are people of all ages, including older adults, who said the delay in treatment could cause other complications. The high cost of treatment prevents those diagnosed from accessing medicines in other ways. On the illegal market, one month’s treatment is offered for $30.

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“We have the right to live,” told one of the spokespersons for the demonstrators, who added that more than 600 patients were registered only in the same Sanitary District in Caracas.

Asked about the risk of contracting COVID-19, the demonstrators said that the fear of dying from a disease that can be cured, such as tuberculosis, is bigger.

Half an hour after the protest began, GNP officials mediated to stop the lockdown. However, the patients said that if they do not receive an answer, they will continue to protest.

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